For the past few years, Lex Gopnik-Lewinski has been eyeing this Canadian stronghold of San JosÃ©.
You know, the neighborhood where hockey players and their fans converge.
From tonight, his Augie’s Montreal Deli will join the SAP Center line of vendors and introduce San Jose Sharks fans to Montreal pride.
The first sandwiches will be sold before the puck hits the Calgary Flames at 7:30 p.m.
Originally from Canada who moved to the Bay Area in 1988, Gopnik-Lewinski used to bring his sealed and smoky transport here after visits to the house – until one day a Canadian customs officer confiscated his Montreal meat. It was then that he decided he needed to learn from his northern friends and make his own.
The dish dates back a century to Hungarian Jews who immigrated to the province of Quebec. The working-class dish has become a staple at legendary restaurants like Schwartz’s, Snowdon, Lester’s, Reuben’s and Smoke Meat Pete (where Gopnik-Lewinski trained).
After years of perfecting the recipe, the result was a pop-up and finally, in early 2018, the region’s first Canadian deli, Augie’s Montreal Deli in Berkeley.
âSince we’re using the entire brisket, you get the texture of corned beef and the rich, spicy goodness of pastrami,â Gopnik-Lewinski said. âWe say it’s like the pastrami and corned beef have had a baby. We serve our hand-carved sandwiches on rye bread with your choice of spicy yellow or brown mustard, just like the good people of Montreal wanted.
For SAP, he also makes Montreal-style turkey breast, which is dried and seasoned with his signature spice blend and served over rye bread with mustard and / or mayonnaise.
âIt’s a turkey sandwich that’s actually chewy with an amazing flavor,â he said.
Right now, SAP Center will be the only place where smoked meat lovers can get a freshly made sandwich. It’s more of a do-it-yourself affair in East Bay, where Gopnik-Lewinski currently sells its meats in local markets while the restaurant is on hiatus.
Details: The Augie’s Montreal Deli booth will be located on the Club Level near Section 115. SAP Center, 525 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose. https://augiesmontrealdeli.com